The making of India

Print edition : February 17, 2017

One can legitimately speculate whether the inhabitants of the Indus Civilisation actually thought of themselves as one people distinct from those who belonged to other areas and cultures. Here, the excavated Indus civilisation site at Bhirrana, Haryana. Photo: Photo Courtesy : ASI

By Asoka's reign, the boundaries of the Mauryan empire extended from the Hindu Kush mountains to deltaic Bengal and Karnataka. It may not be held to be over-speculative to argue that the concept for a country designated "Jambudiva" in Asoka's Minor Rock Edict I corresponded to the empire that had now been created. Here Asokan edicts in Nittur village, Karnataka. Photo: The Hindu Archives

Yuan Chawng, the Chinese Buddhist pilgrim who came to India in the first half of the seventh century. His grasp of India as a geographical entity was remarkable. Photo: Wiki Commons

A depiction of the poet Amir Khusrau (d. 1325), who was of Turkic descent. In 1318, he wrote in Persian what is perhaps the first patriotic poem for India in any language.

A painting by Narsing—reproduced from the book "Episodes in the Life of Akbar—for the Akbarnama depicting Akbar holding a discussion in the Ibadat Khana with spiritual representatives of various faiths, including Jesuits. India as a political unit played a large part in the theory of the nature of sovereignty that Akbar and Abu'l Fazl espoused. Photo: Courtesy: Chester Beatty Library, Dublin

Raja Ram Mohan Roy. In a letter of 1828, he argued that “the distinction of castes, introducing innumerable divisions and subdivisions among them (Indians) entirely deprived them of patriotic feeling”. Photo: The Hindu Archives

India grew into a nation in the course of its struggle for independence. Here, Mahathma Gandhi , accompanied by Jawaharlal Nehru, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan and other party members, walking from a wayside railway station (near Delhi ) to a "Harijan" colony where the All India Congress Committee Meeting was to be held. Photo: The Hindu Archives

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